Federal Forest in the Making

Federal Forest in the Making Bayfield County Press May 9 1929

Federal Forest in the Making – Bayfield County Press – May 9, 1929

Federal Forest in the Making

Bayfield County Press, May 9, 1929

United States men meet with the Bayfield County Forest committee read the headlines on this date in 1929 and followed with this information, “Saturday of last week and again Tuesday of this week the conservation and finance committees of the Bayfield County board met with representatives of the United States forestry department [now United States Forest Service] to discuss the sale of County lands to the federal government for use as a federal forest.

Assistant U. S. Forester Sherman of Washington, D.C. and E. W. Tinker of Milwaukee, the latter in charge of federal forestry projects in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota, represented the government at both meetings. The federal men arrived from Washington Friday morning and that day was spent in driving the area under consideration, approximately 30,935 acres own by the county on tax certificates.

The County board had previously authorized establishment of an area for sale to the government for the proposed purpose of not to exceed 125,000. The area approved by the government contains approximately 111,680 acres, including county owned land.

Any such project must be approved by the Federal Forest Land Acquisition Commission. This commission will meet for one of its semiannual meetings in Washington on the 15th of this month. Mr. Sherman at the Saturday meeting said he would recommend purchase of Bayfield County lands at a price of one dollar per acre by the commission. This purchase price the Bayfield County committee felt was not large enough and held out for a higher recommendation from Mr. Sherman. He felt the commission would not consider the larger figure, but at the Tuesday meeting consented to present his recommendation at a figure of $1.25 per acre.

The federal commission is composed of the Secretary of War, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Senators Keys and Reynolds, and Congressman Hawley of Oregon, Aswell of Louisiana. Favorable action will mean that men will be placed in the area this summer to lay out roads, plan fire protection and means of planting. And it is expected that the planting unit from the Cass Lake District in Minnesota will be moved to this County before next fall.

Mr. Sherman carried with him an option agreement for the purpose of the lands and will present it to the federal commission. If agreement reads as follows”:

“In consideration of $1.25 per acre the County of Bayfield, State of Wisconsin, agrees to sell 30,935 acres, more or less, to the United States, subject to the following reservations and exceptions, to wit: area to be determined by surveys or to be made by and at the expense of the United States.

This instrument is executed subject to the understanding that:

(a) the title of said lands is to be conveyed clear and unencumbered except as herein before stated; that the grantor has full right and power to convey to the United States. The fee simple title, timber or mineral, not outstanding in third parties, will be exercised only under the regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture.

(b) officers and agents of United states shall have the unrestricted right to enter on said lands for the purpose of examining and appraising the land, timber, minerals, or other resources.

(c) the grantor will neither suffer others to do any act by which the values or titles to said lands may be diminished or encumbered.

(d) upon request of the secretary of agriculture the grantor will promptly furnish without expense to the United States an abstract of title to said lands and later have it extended to include record of the deed made pursuant to this agreement as well as interring transactions; provided that if such abstract and extension are not furnished within 60 days from such request the Secretary of Agriculture, may procure an abstract and deduct the cost thereof from the purchase price of said lands.

(e) the grantor will procure and have recorded without expense to the United States all assurances of title, affidavits and other papers, including deed of conveyance to the United States as may be required by the Secretary of Agriculture to show good title to the United States.

(f) if title to said lands satisfactory to the Attorney General of the United States cannot be made by the grantor, United States will, if deems advisable, institute proceedings for condemnation of said lands.

Signed and sealed on the seventh day of May 1929. S. G. Anderson and Ludwick Trammel, witnesses.  R.A. Hering, George B. Williams, E. R. Phillips, F. H. Bartlett, N. E. Ledin, R. L. Schindler and E. F. Daniels, Committee on Finance and Conservation

The May 16 editorial the editor of the Superior Telegram commented, “A national forest in that region in years to come should prove to be an actual financial asset to the people. There is hardly a limit to the improvements that can be affected in this area by the government if such improvements help to bring people to the forest. Superior National Forest, in northern Minnesota, the outfitting points for tourists in this forest rate thousands of dollars annually from the visitors. It is safe to say Superior National Forest is the greatest single factor in attracting tourists to that state.

This history brief was written by Robert J. Nelson. Generously sharing our local history through his research and writing.